Athletes from Russia and Belarus Allowed in Paris, But Under Strict Conditions

The International Olympic Committee gave permission for the participation of Russia and Belarus, which caused great opposition from a part of the public

by Sededin Dedovic
Athletes from Russia and Belarus Allowed in Paris, But Under Strict Conditions
© Cameron Spencer / Getty Images

Russian and Belarusian tennis players have received permission to participate in the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024, but several conditions must be met. Namely, only athletes who did not publicly support the war in Ukraine and who did not participate in the conflict will be able to compete.

Additionally, they will be required to play under a neutral flag, representing themselves as individuals rather than their nations. This decision comes after months of debate and controversy. While some argue that athletes should not be punished for the actions of their governments, others believe that allowing Russian and Belarusian participation would legitimize the war and undermine the Olympic spirit.

Ultimately, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) opted for a compromise solution, allowing individual athletes to compete while maintaining a clear anti-war stance.

Russia and Belarus favorites in tennis

Despite the limitations, tennis players are arguably in a better position than athletes from some other sports.

Both Russia and Belarus have strong contenders for medals, especially in the men's competition. Karen Khachanov, the reigning silver medalist from Tokyo, will look to defend her title, while Daniil Medvedev and Andrei Rublev are also expected to be among the top contenders.

On the women's side, Belarus's Arina Sabalenka, currently ranked second in the world, will be the favorite for gold, even though clay is not her favorite surface. One big obstacle for Russian and Belarusian athletes is the ban on team sports.

This means they will not be able to compete in doubles or mixed doubles, potentially limiting their medal chances. In Tokyo, for example, Rublev and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova won gold in mixed doubles, but they will not have the opportunity to defend the title in Paris.

Another challenge is the rule that limits each country to a maximum of four individual representatives. While this rule is not specific to Russia and Belarus, it does limit their potential medal haul. With six Russian players currently ranked in the top 50, two talented athletes, Roman Safyuljin and Aleksandar Shevchenko, would have to watch the Olympics from the comfort of their homes on TV under current regulations.

The participation of Russian and Belarusian tennis players is sure to add another layer of intrigue to the 2024 Olympics. Considering that there is a group of people who are strongly against this decision, perhaps nothing is over yet.